Will WRC indecision push Kalle Rovanperä away?

The reigning world champion will take half of this year off. Will he be back full-time in ’25?


What does Kalle Rovanperä think? As the dossier that will dictate the next two years in the World Rally Championship is compiled and completed, what does the world champion want on those pages?

His primary request is a simple one: to keep the cars the same as this season. DirtFish was the first to put the question of a step down to Rally2 to the Finn in Baku last December. He wasn’t keen then and that hasn’t changed.

“I don’t see any issue with these [Rally1] cars,” Rovanperä told DirtFish. “They are fast, they are safe, they look really nice for the fans. Teams have used a lot of money in the past years to make them reliable and fast, so I don’t see changing them at short notice will help anything.”

Filip Mares

Rovanperä is not a fan of Rally2 becoming the top category, and believes Rally1 cars should continue untouched in 2025

Typically, Rovanperä’s given this one plenty of thought. He’s not a driver who deals in soundbites. Yes, he’s stepped back to a part-program for this season, but his desire to live a life in the WRC is as strong as ever and he urges a considered approach to the next two years.

“I don’t understand,” he continued, “why we would benefit anything from making the cars different. You make new rules or new ideas and then what’s the idea of that? The teams will have to use more money again with new parts, new stuff, and we don’t gain anything new with that.

“A lot of that lies with the promoter and the FIA. I understand that not everybody will be happy – it’s impossible for everybody to be happy with different ideas – but they would still need to listen as a bit [to] what’s happening and what people want. Then make decisions and get things done as soon as possible – if we don’t know what we will drive next year and we don’t know what we will drive in a few years, how can we attract new teams and new manufacturers?”

There’s a genuine concern in the service park that these political shenanigans could scare Rovanperä off. He’s enjoying his part-time 2024, will he really be back properly next season?

“I would think so,” he said. “I think when [this] year is coming to an end for sure, then you always start to think about the next year. So, I’m sure at that point, the feeling will be much different [to the end of last season, when he wanted to step back].

“I’m enjoying the year. It’s nice. There’s less stress and, for sure, I have seen the difference because of taking this time out.”

His hip-hop arrival caught a few off-guard last month. Any plans to venture further left field?

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I try to still take the year as a bit of like the plan – and the plan was to have time for myself. I don’t want to be fully booked.”